TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Yin: Saving the IRS

TaxSymposiumHeaderGeorge K. Yin (Virginia), Saving the IRS, 100 Va. L. Rev. Online 22 (2014) (Symposium on Tax Reform in a Time of Crisis):

The current controversy involving the IRS's administration of the exempt organization (EO) tax laws is simply the latest in a long succession of similar questions spanning at least five decades. This essay proposes addressing the problem through increased transparency of the IRS's administrative actions involving EOs. Opening up more decision-making to public scrutiny would tend to deter IRS misbehavior, reduce suspicions of such misconduct, and promote fuller communication both to establish impropriety and avert false charges against the agency.

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I’m glad to see people of good faith thinking along these lines; it is much preferable to the right-wing “abolish the IRS” meme. But I doubt that increased transparency would reduce suspicions of misconduct. In the current anti-government atmosphere, little can be done. A case in point is the current dispute over disclosure, i.e., transparency, of donor names in connection with IRC § 527 status. It is the very transparency of sec. 527 that the “social welfare” applicants seek to avoid by seeking recognition under sec. 501(c)(4).

Posted by: Publius Novus | May 6, 2014 8:13:53 AM

It is hard to organize away accusations of conspiracy. The mark of a good conspiracy theory is that it builds on facts that may not be falsified. Two few people remember that when an incident may be explained either by conspiracy or incompetence, the latter is usually the correct answer.

Posted by: GSo | May 6, 2014 11:46:38 PM